Clemson has consistently put together dynamic wide receiver groups, and 2021 should be no different. When Georgia plays the Tigers on Saturday, corner Ameer Speed could be a key difference-maker.
The Tigers released their official depth chart, but many expect Georgia to release theirs later in the week. Head coach Kirby Smart has become known for waiting until the last possible minute to release his lineup to the media.
Nonetheless, Speed figures to be a significant part of the corner rotation this fall. Over the past few months, the staff has been impressed with his growth, and he could vie for the starting corner job opposite Derion Kendrick.
He hasn't seen much playing time to date, but that will change on Saturday. His first real college action will come against a national powerhouse, and Georgia needs him to be on his game. If Kendrick and Speed can anchor the boundaries, it gives the pass rush time to get after Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.
The Clemson wideouts all look similar: they stand 6-3+ and can change direction well. Speed will be seeing a lot of Joe Ngata, Frank Ladson, and EJ Williams. All pose their own problems, but Speed has lived up to the challenge this offseason.
During the spring game, he came away with several pass breakups against wide receiver Adonai Mitchell. Mitchell is raw but looks a lot like what Speed will have to play against. He has long arms, a big catch radius, and has surprising athleticism in small spaces.
Speed looked excellent and was all over Mitchel on the boundary in the early portion of the spring game. Adonai eventually erupted towards the end of the first half, but even then, Speed was always in phase and ready to make a play on the ball.
It has been a foregone conclusion that Derion Kendrick will take the No. 1 corner job and run with it. The big question is, who will become his running mate? At the moment, Speed, Kelee Ringo, and Jalen Kimber are in the thick of the competition and will all get chances against the No. 3 Tigers.
Kirby Smart has repeatedly shown us that he will afford the elder statesmen the first opportunity to win the job. Speed's skillset matches up well with what the Tigers. He is 6-3 and 210 lbs. meaning that Clemson's boundary targets won't physically overpower him. He has the speed to run with any of them and is one of the better in phase corners on Georgia's roster.
More importantly, however, Ameer Speed has earned the opportunity to start and play in this football game on Saturday. In a day and age of college football where players are transferring left and right, he patiently waited through multiple NFL corners in front of him and now it's his time to make the next guy wait.
When you recruit like Georgia does, when a player like Ameer Speed sticks it out at your program after being a highly-touted recruit himself, it behooves your program to reward him. If for no other reason than for the next highly touted recruit to know, when it's my time, I'll have the chance to win and keep the job.
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